Mike sat on his raggedy old couch, smoking some weed while listening to Journey. He closed his eyes and tried to see anything other then the dismal situation life had put him in. So many times he wished he had the power to transport himself out of there and too another time. Maybe walk out the door and instantly change his identity.
A fresh start.
That's all he wanted. He had thought about calling Melinda after her shift was over, see if maybe she wanted to come over and watch a movie or something, but he didn't know her well enough to do that so instead he found himself scrolling down the pages of his black book, looking for a girl to call. Someone to come over and keep him company. His eyes stopped on his ex girlfriend. They hadn't ended on good terms but he missed her, so he took a deep breath and tried her, grimacing when she actually picked up the phone.
"Suzi?" He said after a few moments of debating whether or not he should just hang up and forget about this whole stupid idea.
"Oh my God, what do you want?" Yup he had definitely made a mistake.
"I just thought I'd call to see how you were. I miss you"
She laughed, "You're kidding right? Please tell me your kidding"
"No, of course not"
"Mike I thought I made it perfectly clear to you that I wanted you to drop dead in the most painful way imaginable"
"I thought that maybe..."
"Maybe what? You stupid bastard, you came into my home and robbed me!"
"I didn't mean too honey, it was the drugs"
"Don't call me honey. What... so does that mean your clean now?" Mike couldn't help but feel a little guilty that he was about to lie while smoking a joint, "Yeah Suz, I'm an all new person"
"I'm glad to hear that Mike, but I have moved on, you should too" And with that she hung up on him.
"That went well" He snickered to himself, sitting back and taking another puff of his joint. He hadn't totally lied to Suzi, he was off the heavy duty stuff. Busted for a misdemeanor robbery, he was sentenced to a drug rehab where he got pretty much cleaned up. That seemed like such a long time ago, but when he thought about it, it had all happened less then a year ago.
There were many times, especially on nights like this one, where he was feeling particularly lonely, that staying sober had been a challenge. He decided that joints were harmless. So he still smoked them regularly. He blamed his stupid father for all of his grief. The guy ruined his life, plain and simple.
He tried not to let his mind go back to those days but he often found himself living amidst those memories. Memories of his dad lying to him, telling him they would be going back home soon, while selling drugs to survive. Dad who made it a ritual to go into a grocery store and make a check out for double the amount, getting the cash in his hands and ignoring the bank fee when check after check bounced.
His father taught him how to steal things by putting them under a shopping cart so no one would notice and then going back to an unsuspecting clerk and telling them he was short changed, walking out with a twenty when he had paid with a single. That was how John Alexander worked.
"What an ass" He said under his breath. Knowing that his dad had finally got caught stealing and was rotting in prison made him oddly happy.
Mike flicked through the channels stopping on MTV where they were talking about that Backstreet Boy's appearance on TRL. They showed the crowd from earlier that day and talked briefly about that kids Mom writing a book about him. He rolled his eyes when he heard her name was Jane. "What is it with Mom's and that name. Must they all be total bitches?"
He had gained an intense hatred of his Mother over the years, as he stayed with his alcoholic father with no sign of the woman even looking for him. He also wondered whatever happened to his brother. He smiled, "Nicky" Noticing the similarity between his brother and mother and THIS guy with his mother.
"Both Nick and Jane. Weird coincidence there" They showed the blonde from earlier that day shifting nervously while he talked, falling over his words and looking for his Mom's approval. They barely even showed her, instead focused on him. Mike smiled at the screen, "Thanks for the CD kid, you have no idea how much I needed that today"
Once Nick Carter was off the screen and a stupid rap video began to play, he shut the television off and closed his eyes, listening to the song Faithfully as it blared through his apartment.
"Maybe someday" He said as he lost himself in the chorus of the song, playing air guitar and wishing for brighter days.
All I wanted was for her to leave. It seemed the older I got, the less I wanted my Mom around me. She drove me nuts, when I was little I was able to handle it, all it did for me these days was get on my nerves. She insisted that I go to one more book signing with her, this time at a tiny little place on Long Island. I wanted to say no, I only had three days off and I didn't want to spend one of them stuck in a book store with fans who could really care less about my Mom anyway. Of course I smiled and said I would. I just couldn't stand up to her. I never won so why bother.
So when we all met back at our hotel in Manhattan, I was more then happy to make up any excuse I could think of to get away from her and her nagging. The instant I saw Brian I found my salvation. He looked at me and laughed knowing full well how I must have been feeling, "Hey there guys, how did the appearance go?"
"It went good" He walked over and gave my Mom a hug and kiss. "Honey, I'm going back to our room to rest a bit okay?"
"Our room? Mom I was going to room with Brian"
"Oh that's okay Nick, your Mom is in town" Brian said with an evil grin that only I could see.
"No really" I gave Brian a dirty look, he was doing that on purpose, "I really kind of want to hang with you tonight" Then I turned to my Mom with pleading eyes. Of course she looked hurt, she wouldn't be Jane Carter if she didn't, "Okay, that's fine. Whatever. I'll see you in a little while" When my Mom left, I turned to Brian and stuck my tongue out at him, "You are an ass"
"That's it, I'm telling your Mom you said that" I walked over and jumped on his back making him fall to the ground.
"Easy, let's not cause a scene okay?" Kevin said hauling Brian up and sending me a warning glance.
"You did do a great job today lil man"
"You think so?" He nodded which made me smile. "Although you really went a little crazy at Virgin"
"Why? What did he do?" Brian was playing keep away with me since his hands had found my Diskman. He yanked it away from me and fidgeted with it from one hand to the other as I tried to get it away from him.
"He bought out the store, what did your bill come to Kaos?"
"I don't remember"
"Nick, you have to keep track of those things, you spent about $600 in there"
"He did?" Brian finally gave in and gave me my Diskman back shaking his head at my little shopping spree.
"What? It's not like I bought them all for me, I am giving them away for Christmas, I even got you something"
"Yup" I wiggled my eyebrows at him hoping he would be curious. "Cool, I'll be excited to see what it is"
"Don't you want a hint?" He laughed, Brian knew me so well. He knew I wasn't going to be able to wait until Christmas to give him what I had bought for him.
"No, I want to be surprised"
"Okay" I said in my sing song voice, "But I really think you are going to want to know what it is" Both he and Kevin cracked up. "He even gave a CD to the guy who waited on him at the store"
"Oh that was nice Nick"
"I know, I'm a saint. He said he liked Journey so I had to"
"You didn't buy me Journey did you?"
"Nope, I bought you Marilyn Manson" I crack myself up.
We all traveled into Kevin's room where a huge dinner was waiting for us, compliments of the Four Seasons Hotel. All of this gourmet food that I will never have a taste for. They made a burger for AJ and I. We sat around eating and talking. I really enjoyed being with these guys. They really were my comfort zone. As a matter of fact the first time I felt uncomfortable was when my Mom entered the room from her nap.
The five of us fell silent for some reason which I'm pretty sure enraged her. Mom always tended to think people were talking about her behind her back. "How come you didn't come and get me Nickolas?"
"Sorry Mom, I didn't want to wake you"
"That's okay, actually Dad is coming up tonight so, you my dear, are off the hook" I tried to hold in my excitement, but I'm sure she picked up on it. "When is he getting here?"
"In an hour or so, we are going out to eat and then catch a show. You are more then welcome to come with us honey"
"No, that's okay. You guys go have fun"
"But tomorrow you are still coming with me to Long Island but then Dad and I are going back home"
"Okay" I walked over and gave her a kiss.
I was glad Dad would be coming to keep her company, there was something about being 18 and hanging out with your Mom that seemed wrong to me. When she left, Kevin looked at me and his expression grew serious for a minute, just then I had second thoughts about not going with Mom after all.
"Hey Nicky, come here a sec" I walked over and sat down, "You know I hate being called Nicky right?"
"Shut up" Alrighty then.
"We were just wondering how you were really feeling about this whole book thing?"
We? Funny...I guess that meant I was a topic of discussion.
"I guess okay"
"It doesn't bother you at all?"
"A little..but what can I do about it?"
They all nodded. "If you need to talk we're here squirt" AJ said, but I laughed because when he was serious it cracked me up for some reason. "Thanks"
"So, what's the plan for tomorrow? Is anybody actually going to attempt going home?" Everyone shook there heads, "Not enough time. I'm just chillin in the Big Apple Dawg" I laughed out loud at Howie. He was such a corn nut sometimes.
"It looks like we all be chillin in the NYC peeps" I said giving them my Yo Yo rap look.
"Word to your mother" Brian agreed.
"Sometimes I worry about all of you. You know that?"
"What? Kevin worry?" I once again had everyone laughing. If only I could be like this in public.
"Oh..wow before I forget to tell you guys, we have a BIG TRL appearance before Millennium comes out in April"
"Talk about planning ahead, it's only November dude"
"I know, but I wanted to let you know before I forget"
"I say tomorrow we go try to shoot some hoops Bri, what do you say?"
"It's a deal Nicky" He of course emphasized the Y. Which led me to once again jump on top of him.
"Just another day in the life of the Backstreet Boys" Howie said as he watched Kevin and AJ pile on top of Brian and I.